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Email click rates in North America have failed to increase on a year-over-year basis for the 16th consecutive quarter, per Epsilon’s latest quarterly review [download page] of client activity. The Q1 2017 report shows the average click-through rate at 3.2%, down from 3.4% a year earlier.

Open and click rates continued to diverge in Q1: once again, open rates registered a year-over-year increase even as click rates dropped. The average open rate for emails sent by Epsilon’s North American clients was 33.5%.

Marketing Emails Have Lowest Click-Through Rate

Some 92.9% of emails sent by Epsilon clients during Q1 were classified as marketing messages, meaning that they contained merchandise information and incentives for purchasing.

These emails performed far worse than others, registering a 23.1% open rate (vs. the 33.5% average) and a 1.5% click rate (vs. the 3.5 average).

Some industries fared better than others with their marketing emails, though. The “Financial services cc/banks” sector, for example, achieved almost a 50% (49.9%) open rate for the quarter. The “Consumer products pharmaceutical” industry, by comparison, managed only a 13.4% open rate on its marketing emails. However, the industry made up for it with the highest click-to-open rate, of 13.1%.

Triggered Emails Show Similar Patterns

Triggered emails continued to show far greater response rates than business-as-usual (BAU) emails, averaging a 56.7% open rate and an 8.6% click rate.

Yet, triggered emails followed generally the same pattern as BAU emails, as open rates rose on a year-over-year basis even as click rates declined.

Interestingly, only 2.7% of emails sent during Q1 were triggered messages, just half the share from the prior quarter (5.4%). That may be due to more transactions occurring during the holiday period, which in turn led to more “Thank You” and “Confirmation” emails, among others.

In a reversal from BAU emails, it was the “Consumer products pharmaceutical” sector with the highest click rate on triggered emails, with an average of 16%. As with BAU emails, though, the “Financial services cc/banks” industry enjoyed the highest open rate on triggered emails, of 70.1%.

About the Data: The results are based on an analysis of 9.9 billion emails sent during Q1 (January through March) 2017 across multiple industries and approximately 150 clients.

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